Author Topic: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...  (Read 406 times)

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Offline median

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If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« on: August 28, 2013, 12:46:02 PM »
Christians and other religious people often claim to have conversations, or some kind of communication, with their alleged God. They often say that they hear a "still small voice" or that God speaks with them in some way. When I was a Christian I believed in this phenomena quite strongly - that I was hearing from God on a regular basis, that his Holy Spirit was communicating with me, and that I needed to listen carefully. In fact, very often I acted upon the things I believed I was hearing. So, the question for religious people here is:

If a thought (or voice) arises in your head, how do you know it is a God (or deity) that is generating that thought? How do you know it is not just your own personal self-projection talk?

I would like to know what method, or standard, you Christians (and others) are using by which to test and determine that these 'communications from God' are actually from an external source beyond yourself. If a thought arises in your head how could you possibly know it came from outside your head? So far as I know, there is no way to test for the source of these voices.



Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan

Offline Nick

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2013, 01:45:53 PM »
Easy, look around...there should be a burning bush somewhere near.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline neopagan

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2013, 01:54:56 PM »
I know the answer... oooh, oooh, oooh:

If what you hear in your head lines up with what you read in scripture (I have heard this answer many times in churches, btw)

Of course, by that logic (theology?), you could be excused for any number of cruelties, right?

Also, what differentiates what you hear from what a "religious" person suffering from a known psychopathy hears?
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2013, 06:19:08 PM »
I poll the voices and ask if it was any of them...   ;)
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline anthony_retford

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2013, 06:32:44 PM »
Georg Northoff, research director of Mind, Brain Imaging, and Neuroethics at the University of Ottawa’s Institute of Mental Health Research is internationally recognized for his research into brain function. Northoff, who holds doctorates in both neuroscience and philosophy, holds two prestigious Canadian research chairs simultaneously: Canada research chair in mind, brain imaging and neuroethics, and the ELJB-CIHR Michael Smith chair in neurosciences and mental health. The chairs carry with them more than $3 million in funding over the next seven years.

Northoff points out that all our thoughts and feelings, even a transcendent sense of holiness, ultimately emanates from a big, wet, physical brain trapped in a hard skull. The brain is built to focus entirely on the threats and pleasures of its immediate environment — attacking lions, lovely young mating partners — and can never escape to see the larger picture. It cannot see beyond its own life without dying. It cannot even look at itself without ending up in a surreal fractal loop of the mind examining itself, examining itself as it examines itself ad infinitum.

“I would never deny the feelings (of the faithful),” said Northoff. “But what I would deny is that the content of his feelings, God in this case, exists independent of him. That is something that is beyond his knowledge.”
People are 'erroneously confident' in their knowledge and underestimate the odds that their information or beliefs will be proved wrong. They tend to seek additional information in ways that confirm what they already believe.
Max Bazenman, Harvard University

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2013, 08:32:17 PM »
I often hear the voice of a goddess...she says, "Really? You forgot to empty the dishwasher again?" 

Strangely, after hearing this voice, I have the urge to immediately empty the dishwasher -- you know, to preserve my soul.
There is no opinion so absurd that a preacher could not express it.
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Offline epidemic

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2013, 07:33:48 AM »
I don't know if I am unusual in this but i don't think I have ever heard a voice in my head.

I have thoughts, sometimes random nonsequitorial thoughts, but I do not hear a voice per say.  Everything I think about feels like thought,  There is no voice component to it.

For those who do occasionally hear a voice in their head do you actually hear sounds?  Sense a deep or high pitched voice like grandma.

Offline neopagan

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2013, 07:41:43 AM »
^^^ Same here, Epidemic. No voices for me, aside from my own during thoughts
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline epidemic

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2013, 08:07:49 AM »
^^^ Same here, Epidemic. No voices for me, aside from my own during thoughts
  Even my own I would not classify as a voice.  My thoughts and voice are completely different.  I do not perceive any "sounds".

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2013, 08:21:08 AM »
I hear lots of different voices in my head.

They're usually songs I've listened to and effectively memorized.

Offline epidemic

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2013, 08:40:07 AM »
even songs that stick in my head are separate from sound for me.  I have had one stuck in my head this morning and for me it is completely separate from the real world.  For me there is no mistaking it for something I am hearing.

So when you say a song is in your head it feels like you are hearing it jaimehlers?

Offline sun_king

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2013, 08:58:32 AM »
Its also called "personal conversation with god" ( a term regularly used by a colleague of mine who is in awe of any christian who has claimed to have such a 'conversation')

I would say that its an variation of SPAG, the inherent inferiority complex of a theist that reiterates that they are not capable of defining normal moral behaviors or laws. If a new thought crosses their minds, they seem to be unwilling to take credit. It has to come from god, so they invoke the "personal conversation with god" protocol, now the thought is endorsed by skydaddy. No witnesses needed!

Every time you hear about such a 'conversation' you are looking at a theist who believes he/she is god[1].
 1.  Or a diminutive god - full fledged gods have more delusions

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2013, 09:46:28 AM »
One time, and one time only, I heard a very clear voice in my head. I was in the process of falling off my bike and the voice in my head yelled "Roll!" Which I did when I hit the ground, though by the time I actually landed I was going pretty slow and I was landing on soft grass and I wouldn't have gotten hurt much anyway. I was quite astonished by the voice, and have hoped for years to hear it again because it was an interesting experience. It has never happened again. (It happened about 40 years ago.)

Whatever it was, it was kind of cool, and wasn't at all scary or unwelcome. Just strange. It would be great to have me monitored by, and receive communications from, some part of my head that is less oblivious than the rest of me is. That tells me what to do in stressful or otherwise unwelcome situations.

I've been in far more dire circumstances since then and said voice has kept its mouth shut. For instance, there have been several women in my life it could have warned me about.  :P
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline median

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Re: If A Thought Arises In Your Head...
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2013, 11:02:22 AM »
I don't know if I am unusual in this but i don't think I have ever heard a voice in my head.

I have thoughts, sometimes random nonsequitorial thoughts, but I do not hear a voice per say.  Everything I think about feels like thought,  There is no voice component to it.

For those who do occasionally hear a voice in their head do you actually hear sounds?  Sense a deep or high pitched voice like grandma.

What you've just described here is quite nearly what I mean when I am talking about a "voice in your head". When most of use read words on a page we "hear" ourselves "saying" the words (like you probably just did with this sentence). Now just add a belief that it's a God speaking to you this way, along with a strong emotional attachment going along with it, and voila! You now have a "voice in your head" (SPAG).
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Carl Sagan